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Taking a Stand for Safety, Red Cross Nurses Strike

Red Cross nurses on strike  

Nurses and donor collection staff who work for the American Red Cross in Philadelphia and South Jersey are on strike. The 240 workers, represented by the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, have been engaged in bargaining for the past two months, but have been unable to reach an agreement that addresses key issues of staffing, scheduling, training and collective bargaining rights.

The Red Cross workers are picketing donor sites throughout New Jersey and Philadelphia.

In the last week, the nurses and donor collection staff who are in contract negotiations with the American Red Cross' Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region division have sponsored billboards, fliers and Web ads that raise safety concerns about American Red Cross (ARC) Blood Services.

Nurses and staff at the ARC have filed unfair labor practice charges over the many changes made by ARC in their working conditions, health coverage and retirement plans; and negotiations are proving more difficult than in the past. Nurses and donor collection staff are seeking better staffing, training, and scheduling systems as well as reinstatement of their retirement plan.

"While we remain committed to a settlement, we are determined to take a stand for the safety of our workers, our donors and ultimately the person getting the blood," says Renee Conyers, a donor collection staff at the ARC and president of the technical unit of HPAE Local 5103. "It is unfortunate that our local Red Cross is following the lead of their national, focused instead on their $2 billion bottom line." [HPAE press release/photo courtesy HPAE]

May 24, 2011